HARARE – A Harare regional magistrate has jailed politician Justin Zvandasara for two years after convicting him of $4 million fraud.
Magistrate Temba Kuwanda initially sentenced Zvandasara to four years in prison, before suspending two years on condition of good behaviour.
Zvandasara was jailed together with Tichaona Suruware, while another accomplice Blessing Sigareta was acquitted.
Zvandasara and Suruware were convicted for grabbing 84 000 hectares of land belonging to Zanu PF legislator for Mutare South Nyasha Chikwinya in Hatcliffe, Harare.
According to state papers, Zvandasara went on to allocate the land to unsuspecting home seekers under his housing co-operative.
Court documents showed that Zvandasara is the president of an unregistered Harare North Housing Co-operative Union, while the complainant, Chikwinya is the director of Pilgrims Rest Properties, which specialises in property development.
Prosecutor Oliver Marwa said that Chikwinya was allocated Pilgrims Rest Farm measuring 150 hectares during the land redistribution exercise.
Government, however, demarcated the land into two and the other half was allocated to Mama Mafuyana Housing Co-operative.
Chikwinya obtained a development permit after being allocated land in Hatcliffe North Phase two.
Chikwinya and the ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development signed a memorandum of agreement allocating the land and transferring administration into her name in June 2011.
She started servicing the land, subdividing it into low, medium and high-density stands.
Zvandasara and Suruware who knew about the project misrepresented to unsuspecting homeseekers that they had lawfully acquired the same piece of land.
They sold 496 stands to homeseekers who immediately occupied the land.
In the other count, the complainant was the chairman of Alpha Developers, Jonathan Gapare, a property developer.
Gapare applied to government for a piece of land adjacent to that of Chikwinya for land development by his company Alpha Developers.
Zvandasara and Suruware sold 324 stands belonging to Gapare, the court heard.